Velda May Kostoff Cliett May 17, 1937 - June 10, 2023
Velda May Kostoff Cliett, 86, passed on June 10 in Oroville, Calif., after a brief illness. She was born to Louis Delani Kostoff and Marion Haddie Wickard Kostoff on May 17, 1937, in Deer Lodge. She was a cosmetologist for 47 years and loved it dearly. She belonged to Beta Sigma Phi and was a member of a Chapter in Twin Falls, Idaho, before moving to California, where she joined the Laureate Epsilon Gamma Chapter. She was the youngest of 10 children and is now home with her parents, brothers and sisters. Velda is survived by her children Lance (Gloria) Brown of Northern Idaho; Jim (Barbara) Day of California; Debbie (Jim) Lash of California; Walter Day of Ontario, Ore.; Milt Day of Twin Falls; Richard Day of Three Creeks, Idaho; and two stepsons Randy (Judy) Cliett and Andy (Carroll) Cliett of Twin Falls. Velda has 17 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren and several great great grandchildren. Velda will be missed by many friends and loved ones.
Robyn Dombrowski June 29, 1952 - June 11, 2023
We are shocked and saddened to report that our kind, generous and loving wife, mom, grandma, friend and spitfire, Robyn Dombrowski, 70, has died on June 11 at Anaconda Community Hospital. She fought cholangiocarcinoma for several months with courage, determination, vulnerability, grace and most importantly, hope. She most unwillingly left behind her husband Wayne Dombrowski; daughters, Heather Lopp; Erin Slack; Brianna Turley; Amanda Williams; and Vickie White, as well as countless friends and family members. Robyn was born to Gordon and Inez Burnett, June 29, 1952, in Detroit Lakes, Minn. She was described as a happy baby and grew up a pleasant child, never without a puppy, kitten, horse or occasionally, squirrel. Her family moved to Montana in the late 1960s, and Robyn graduated from Polson High School. She then attended Concordia College. After College she married Robert Clayton and had two daughters Heather and Erin, both born in Polson. The family moved to the high country of Arizona for a few years before moving back to the Flathead Valley, in Kalispell. After both daughters had graduated from Flathead High School and Heather had married, Robert, Robyn and Erin enjoyed life in the open spaces of Roundup. They then finally settled squarely between Anaconda and Deer Lodge. On Aug. 8, 2009, Robyn and Wayne married and joined their lives of love, aﬀection, service and stability. Throughout her life, Robyn expressed a desire to know if a true god existed. Disappointed with the hypocrisy she witnessed in many faiths, she began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and became convinced of what she learned as truth. That belief set a precedent for how she framed the rest of her life. Sharing her hope of a beautiful future and assisting others to utilize tools to affect positive change in their lives, regardless of their beliefs, became a mainstay of her life’s course. Robyn spent over 30 years of her life serving as a full-time minister in that endeavor. Robyn in all her embodiments was someone with whom we have laughed, cried, joked, teased, sympathized with, cringed at, admired, respected and ultimately, loved. How does one sum up the existence of such a cherished human in so few sentences? How do we describe the impact of one specific person on the lives of so many others? Maybe we begin with ice cream parties, cheap shoes, farting ring tones, turkey roasting instructions, gift giving, adoration and adoption of other’s children, letter writing mornings, biking the Hiawatha trail, garage sales, barbecue buying, iPad deal sleuthing, lunches at Panera, surprise tractor purchases, unvarnished commentaries, savage loyalty and divine-like love. Our Robyn lived with a resolution. A resolution embodied by the words of the Psalmist, “I will never abandon my loyal love for him nor be untrue to my promise.” She lived and died with a hope. A sure hope. A hope expressed by the inspired words of the Bible’s prophet, Isaiah, “Awake and shout joyfully you residents in the dust! And the earth will let those powerless in death come to life.” Isaiah 26:19 A memorial service for Robyn Dombrowski was held June 24. Please visit the longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Robyn.
Dennis L. “Den” Tice September 8, 1952 - June 6, 2023
On Tuesday night, June 6, Den, 70, lost his hard fought, yet brief, battle with oropharyngeal cancer. He was surrounded by family and passed away peacefully late that evening. Born to Fran and Everett Tice in Spokane, Wash., Den was the oldest of five children. He attended school in Spokane and later in Lewiston, Idaho. Den had an innocent curiosity about learning how things worked. He would take apart toys, engines, and many other things - and would get scolded by adults for this, even though he could reassemble and rebuild things to a like-new condition. He was known as the original MacGyver to co-workers and friends for his ability to fix things with whatever was handy. Den was also blessed with an exceptional skill at wood-working. He made custom pieces and built high-end homes on Big Mountain as well as the Kalispell and Lakeside areas. He loved flying and was building a Bauers Flybaby, which was 90% completed at the time of his death. Den loved being in the mountains, playing his guitar around a campfire, or fly-fishing and exploring with his dog Sadie at his side. Den had been married and divorced a few times when he met the love of his life, Marika Hansen, in Deer Lodge. They spent almost three decades together, and she was at his side until the very end. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Candi Myers, and his brother Michael Tice. He is survived by his partner Marika; his daughter Jennifer (Gareth) Tice; sister Kathy Klunder; brother John Tice; stepchildren Jesse (Sheena) Hansen; Justin Hansen; and Stormee Hansen; 10 granddaughters, three grandsons; one great-grandson; numerous nieces and nephews; and of course, Sadie, his beloved dog. Den requested there be no funeral service. His ashes will be scattered at a later date at his favorite mountain spot. Donations to help with medical expenses and cremation costs can be sent to Virginia Gillette, 113 Larabie Street, Deer Lodge, MT 59722.
David Paul Meier March 16, 1927 - June 15, 2023
David Paul Meier, 96, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 15 in Deer Lodge. He was born March 16th, 1927 in Winona, Minn. where he grew up surrounded by a loving family. Dave took military training at the Great Lakes Naval Center after he reached his 18th birthday, during his senior year of high school. His three brothers had already signed up to serve. After training he joined his crew on the USS Langley to fight during WWII in the Mediterranean Arena. When WWII ended, Dave traveled to Montana to pursue a career as an agent with the Northern Pacific and eventually the Burlington Northern Railroad. He worked around the state including Twin Bridges, Garrison and Deer Lodge throughout his 40-year career. He was fondly known as Depot Dave! On Aug. 1, 1959, Dave married Nora Ryan. Together they had three daughters: Shelly, Mary and Patty. Nora and Dave were married for 63 wonderful years, and she supported him throughout his career. Dave was always active in the community and willing to lend a helping hand to friends and strangers. Dave belonged to the Deer Lodge Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where he could often be found volunteering to help for special occasions or events. His faith was a strong part of his life. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus for over 25 years, was an American Legion member, Boy Scout Leader and Veterans Honor Guard member participating in over 100 military funerals. Depot Dave was one of the few people in Montana who could still do Morse Code and enjoyed sharing it with others through demonstrations with the Montana Morse Telegrapher’s Association. Giving back to his community and his military service to his country were important to Dave. As a father and grandfather to all “girls,” he made sure they knew how to fish, camp, hunt and work around tools. Dave worked hard for his family and enjoyed the great outdoors that Montana provided with an unparalleled zest for life until the very end. He was well known for his ability to tell many stories about hunting elk in the Rubies, fishing with his granddaughters, his garden and being on his daughter’s boat in Alaska with family (He always caught the biggest fish!). His optimism in life and compassion for family, friends and strangers touched those around him. We will never know how many people were impacted by his willingness to help others over the years. Dave’s secret to a long life was staying active, along with spending time with family and many wonderful friends throughout his life. The world was a better place with Dave in it, and he will be greatly missed by all. Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel and Paul Meier; his sisters, Jean Gervais and Patricia Meier; brothers, Stanley, Charles and Gerald Meier; and daughter, Patricia (Patty) Traverso. He is survived by his wife, Nora Meier; daughters, Richelle (Shelly) Deering, Mary Perkins; and grandchildren, Kathryn (Katy) Germann, Zoey and Alyah Perkins. Dave’s funeral service was held June 22 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Deer Lodge. Memorials can be directed to Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, www.themmrf.org; or Immaculate Conception Church: 605 Clark St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722.
Donald Boone Nichols January 20, 1931 - June 17, 2023
Born free in a wild place with a strong heart, the son of a West Virginia coal miner, Pat E. Nichols and Kansas farm girl, Margerette D. Pettit, in Summers, Kan., at the beginning of the Great Depression, Jan. 20, 1931. They soon migrated to Montana when he was less than 2 years old. Being a miner, his dad took up gold mining but left the family destitute when coming home from Ennis where he played guitar and sang at a bar. Pat’s brother rolled the car at the bottom of the Madison Hill where the Barter Ranch turn off was and the gold mine he last worked, killing them both. Donald was 6; his brother, Ted Nichols, was 4; and his older sister, Betty, was 10. His mother had to work to make ends meet, leaving him alone to a beautiful wilderness there all around Norris, between the Tobacco Root Mountains and the Madison River to instill awe and a deep connection to the wild. Stationed at Guam during his service in the Navy at the beginning of the Korean War, his love and connection with the natural world deepened, where he got to explore the beauty and grandeur of the ocean waters. After discharging from the service, he went back to West Virginia where he met Berdina King, married and started his family. They brought Barbara Nichols into this world there. After a few years, he brought his family back to Montana where he hoped to live a simple life surrounded by wilderness. On their way they discovered Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he would become a machinist, and bring Dan Nichols into this world. He found land in northern Montana, but after copper was discovered under his land, he went looking for better wilderness, but his wife left him and that would change him forever. From then on, he would try to find a way to be free, living off the land in the mountains of Montana. This would come to a tragic end in 1984, when he and his son tried to kidnap a young woman to live in the mountains, killing her would-be rescuer. In court he had the courage to take responsibility for his actions. From then on, he would be known as “The Mountain Man.” Don would spend the next 33 years in prison where he eventually would become the gardener for the prison for over 20 years. He dedicated his time to making the prison a more beautiful place and was much appreciated for his abundant flower gardens. In spite of all the tragedy in his life, he always nurtured the beauty and sanity of the natural world. He always believed our salvation as a nation lie in going back to more simple ways of living close to the land where family comes first, and we can develop that intimate connection with the earth. He is survived by his half-brother; his son and daughter; grandkids; great-grandkids; and nieces and nephews.
Elsie Caroline (Periman) Phillips April 28, 1931 - June 20, 2023
Our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away peacefully at the Deer Lodge Medical Center in Deer Lodge on June 20. Elsie Caroline (Periman) Phillips was born April 28, 1931, in Deer Lodge, to Ralph and Montana (Girard) Periman. Elsie attended grade school at St. Mary’s Academy in Deer Lodge and graduated from Powell County High School in 1949. Elsie married Fred Phillips on Sept. 30, 1951. The couple resided in Deer Lodge where they built their home and raised their three children. Elsie was a stay-at-home Mom until her children were in grade school and was then employed by the Powell County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, retiring as the Deputy Clerk and Recorder. Upon retirement, Elsie spent countless hours in her yard and flower gardens. She received recognition for the most beautiful yard and flowers in Deer Lodge during the Tri County Fair contest. She loved decorating her house and yard for all the holidays and seasons. Elsie loved to bake (especially Christmas cookies). She and Fred were well known for the many weddings and special occasion cakes they professionally baked and decorated. She loved a good game of pinochle and enjoyed her bunco group. She enjoyed watching her children and grandchildren in their activities. She loved to throw a few quarters into the machines at Lucky Lil’s and made many friends there. Elsie was a lifelong member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Deer Lodge. She assisted with laundering the church linens, was a secretary for the CCD program, and worked countless hours assisting with church luncheons and banquets. Elsie was preceded in death by her husband Fred in 1991. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Montana Periman; her in-laws, Wayne and Freda Phillips; brother Donald Periman; son-in-law, Pat Mclaughlin; and grandson, Matthew Phillips. She is survived by her three children, Ralph (Butch) Phillips and his wife Karen, Shirley Mclaughlin, and Teresa Schulz and her husband Bill. She is also survived by her precious four grandchildren, Sarah Maddock and her husband Bradly, David Phillips and his wife Dawn, Jherianne Fluke and her husband Keegan, and Nicole Dirks and her husband Josh; along with her nine great-grandchildren, Thea, Elsie and Otto Dirks, Will and Wesley Maddock, Henry and Raelynn Fluke, and Michael and Samuel Phillips. Also surviving is her sister-in-law, Rose Periman. The family would like to thank all the staff at the Deer Lodge Medical Center who cared for Elsie during her brief stay. Also, to the staff of Renaissance Assisted Living for their loving care and assistance of the last two years. A vigil and rosary service was held June 26. A Funeral Mass for Elsie followed by a graveside service were held June 27. Memorials can be made to the charity of choice. Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Elsie. Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Service has been privileged to care for Elsie and her family.